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Ukraine One Year Later, All Quiet on the Western Front, Judd Hirsch

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February 19, 2023 1:30 pm

Ukraine One Year Later, All Quiet on the Western Front, Judd Hirsch

CBS Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley

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February 19, 2023 1:30 pm

Hosted by Jane Pauley. In our cover story, Allison Aubrey looks at how one private equity firm has introduced a new model of employee ownership. Plus: David Martin and Charlie D’Agata report on the war in Ukraine as it enters its second year; Mark Phillips talks with the director and star of “All Quiet on the Western Front”; Tracy Smith listens in as some big names record a tribute album of music by Henry Mancini; Ben Mankiewicz talks with Oscar-nominee Judd Hirsch of “The Fabelmans”; and Robert Costa finds out how Liev Schreiber is helping raise humanitarian aid for Ukraine.

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Hi, this is Jill Schlesinger, CBS News Business Analyst, Certified Financial Planner, and host of the Money Watch Podcast. This is the show where your money is not scary. It is a show that's all about you. It's your questions that make it possible for me to provide unconventional and entertaining insights on your money, and maybe more importantly, on your life. Follow Money Watch wherever you get your podcasts.

You can listen ad-free on the Amazon Music or Wondery app. Good morning. I'm Jane Pauley, and this is Sunday Morning. All too often, we think we know the outcome when life pits those who have against those who don't.

Not this morning. From Alison Aubrey, we share a story about the American workplace with an intriguingly happy ending. Your payout is three and a half times your annual pay. Paydays like this don't just happen for American workers.

Your payout is five and a half times your annual pay. Until they do. Are you telling me that what you're trying to do is to change the system entirely? That's exactly what we're trying to do.

Ahead on Sunday morning, workers and executives create and share the wealth. He's made a name for himself, portraying a variety of ordinary people in the movies and on TV. His latest role is no exception. It's a performance that's earned him an Oscar nod. Ben Mankiewicz is talking with actor Judd Hirsch. The feeling of electricity just runs through me, you know.

I try fabric softener. He's played cabbies, therapists, and eccentric uncles. But Judd Hirsch found his calling here at Coney Island. You wanted to come back here. You wanted us to see this place.

I wanted to remember what made me choose to become an actor. The sweet and surprising journey of Judd Hirsch later on Sunday morning. Tracy Smith takes in a tribute to one of Hollywood's legendary composers by some of his equally legendary music contemporaries. The late Henry Mancini made a lot of friends. And not long ago, some of them got together for a little tribute.

There was Herbie and Quincy and Johnny. What does it feel like to play it again? It's like a bicycle.

You get back on. Two, three, four. The great Mancini had a recording session for the ages ahead on Sunday morning. This week marks one year since Russia invaded Ukraine. A bitter, brutal conflict, the largest ground war in Europe since the Second World War. This morning we'll take stock of where things stand with David Martin and Charlie Daggett. While Robert Costa is talking with actor Liev Schreiber about his newest role, a crusade to help victims of the fighting. For me, I think the real moving stuff is meeting the people and just understanding how similar we are. Plus, remembering Raquel Welch and more on a Sunday morning for the 19th of February 2023.

And we'll be back in a moment. It's an Illinois company with an unlikely benefactor that's giving new meaning to the expression sharing the wealth. Here's contributor Allison Aubrey of NPR.

You guys ready to get into it? Life took a big turn last May in the small town of Arthur, Illinois, for the employees of CHI Overhead Doors. We do have some news. And the news is we found a new owner for the business. The employee was a co-owner of the company. They'd been told if the business sold at a profit, they'd all get a payday. Now it was actually happening. So if you joined last year, the payout is $40,000.

I'm just upfront and being all excited. I'm just like, oh my gosh, like we're talking life changing money now. Production manager Jim Hill joined the company in 2019 and got two and a half times his annual salary.

That was, hey Jim, like it's easier to put your kids through college now. Three and a half times your annual pay. The average payout was about $175,000. Longtime employees got even more. The payout is six and a half times. You've never seen people grab their phone to get their calculator out so fast. Wait a minute. I make $22 an hour times 40 hours a week times 52 weeks a year times four. Holy cow.

Josh Ryan works as an assembly line supervisor at CHI, along with his wife, Marquita Sanchez, and her mother, Elizabeth Garza. I was excited, but I was nervous at the same time because I've never had that much money before. My nine-year-old just wanted to know if we could go to Disney. And the answer?

Yes, we should go to Disney. Seven years ago, all 800 factory employees were given shares in the company by a surprising new owner, KKR. It's a private equity firm that buys, manages, and eventually sells companies aiming for a big return. The private equity industry has long had a reputation for layoffs and cost cutting.

This is our global headquarters here in Hudson Yards. But KKR partner Pete Stavros wants his industry to adopt a new model that gives every employee a small ownership stake. I think it's a superior way to operate a business in every respect. It is better for workers. It's better for companies in corporate cultures. And in the end, it delivers better results. So far, Stavros has overseen seven ownership payouts.

I think a lot of people watching are skeptical. Are you telling me that what you're trying to do is to change the system entirely? That's exactly what we're trying to do. Talking to you, I kind of feel like, sounds a little bit more like Bernie Sanders than a private equity executive. It always helps growing up in a family where your dad was a construction worker, so you understand both sides of it. Having Harry Stavros build roads for four decades is where his son saw a capitalist's opportunity. So my dad used to talk about the need to just work steady.

Not too fast, not too slow to get in trouble, but just steady. So he was incentivized to be inefficient. Absolutely. If you're an hourly worker, more hours means more pay. And so you want to incentivize workers because you think it will help the bottom line? They will be more engaged on the job, less likely to quit, and it's going to lead to better performance for the company. So productivity will go up.

But Stavros says it isn't all about ownership. Employees also need a voice, as co-owners, workers at CHI, voted in. Air conditioning, a new cafeteria, and an onsite health clinic. That philosophy is now being tested here at Charter Next Generation.

We're making films that are used in food products, primarily. A plastics packaging company KKR bought in 2021. Kathy Bullhouse is CEO. We're going to have to figure out how to get employees to really understand how their day-to-day actions translate into long-term results.

Any potential payout is still years away, and only if profits go up. This is a scrap bend. She says cutting scrap by just 1 percent would bring $10 million in additional profit. So this is inefficiency right here. This is waste. This is profit. The collective pursuit of profit means problem-solving spans the corner office to this Ohio factory floor. Who owns this company? We own this company.

Charles Marlowe is a plant training coordinator. That's still a strong sale. OK, nice. I have this certificate. So you have 3,730 shares.

It's pretty cool, to be honest. I never would have thought that I would be an owner. Shares are tied to each employee's position and years on the job.

If profits go up, so too does the value of these shares and the size of that potential payday. I wasn't supposed to be in a place that I'm in right now. What do you mean not supposed to be? Born into poverty. There was no home-cooked meals.

There was Doritos and beef jerky. Getting that certificate, I'm finally on the end. In 2021, Pete Stavros created a nonprofit called Ownership Works to expand this model across the industry. And you think this would chip away at the wealth gap?

This will help. Is it going to solve all our problems? Absolutely not.

But it's a step in the right direction. Yes, private equity will still keep the lion's share of profits of any sale. But for the almost 12 million Americans who work for private equity-owned companies, it could mean billions in wealth.

Just ask the employees back in Arthur, Illinois. Do you feel like you've gotten your fair share here? I mean, I've probably gotten more than my fair share. And the truth is this.

Companies are bought and sold every day in the United States. And guys like me and ladies like her and her don't get any of the money. The payday for most workers was not enough to retire. But for Jim Hill and so many others, it's brought some financial peace of mind. I got three kids, a house, cars, my wife that loves me. You know, I've got everything I've ever wanted in life. So that's the American dream. Your sweat equity paid off?

My sweat equity paid off hundredfold. So can't put that into words. Just smiles. Meet Jill Evans. Jill's got it all.

A big house, fast car, two kids and a great career. But Jill has a problem. When it comes to love, Jill can never seem to get things right. And then along comes Dean. I can't believe my luck.

I've hit the jackpot. It looks like they're going to live happily ever after. But on Halloween night, things get a little gruesome. This is where the shooting happened outside of building society in New Romney.

It's thought the 42-year-old victim was killed after he opened fire on police. And Jill's life is changed forever. From Wondery and Novel comes Stolen Hearts, a story about a cop who falls in love with a man who is not all he seems to be. I'm Kerry Godliman. Follow Stolen Hearts on Amazon Music or wherever you get your podcasts.

You can listen early and ad-free by subscribing to Wondery Plus in Apple Podcasts or the Wondery app. One year on, the war in Ukraine is at a stalemate, the brutal fight exposing Russia's surprising weakness against the strength and resolve of the Ukrainian people. We have two reports. David Martin will be along shortly.

But to begin, here's Charlie Daggett. Twelve months of bloodshed following a full-scale Russian invasion, tens of thousands of troops killed on both sides. With two determined leaders, each promising victory for their side.

A David and Goliath conflict dragging on and on. And yet life in Ukraine after a year of war depends entirely on where Ukrainians are trying to live it. Russia failed to capture the capital, Kiev, where those who haven't fled are trying to carry on as normal.

Many families who escaped in the early days have since returned. The war that's created eight million Ukrainian refugees is never far. And sometimes very near.

Everywhere is in missile range. One of the first strikes in Kiev slammed into a high rise. We rushed to the scene when it happened to report on the damage. We returned a year later to find the giant scar outside the building, now healed, where we met Tatiana Leschuk, a lawyer in Kiev. This room was destroyed completely. But her anxious daughter got up early that Saturday morning. They were in the hallway when the missile hit.

I think it's got. Save here and save me and save my husband. It was very scared for me. Well, it's brave to come back.

Thank you. I want to live in my country because it's it's my home. Travel further east and the landscape changes dramatically. More evidence of a country in the grip of the biggest and bloodiest military confrontation in Europe since World War Two. There is more of a military presence, more checkpoints, much more damage. And on some parts of the front line where we went this past week, the fighting, the incoming and outgoing artillery never ceases. The troops here are getting nervous because there may be a drone flying overhead. The sound of explosions has been nonstop in this last village under Ukrainian control. Ukraine's second city of Kharkiv is within easy range of Russian rockets. And the war feels closer because it is. Yet even here, people refuse to stop living. Then there are the countless towns and villages like this along the front line or what used to be the front line now virtually deserted, showing widespread destruction first from when the Russians invaded, then when the Ukrainians forced them out.

Raisa Fativa was one of only a few hundred people who stayed in this village east of Kharkiv. She described waking up one morning to find Russian soldiers in the street, taking up positions around her home. That must have been terrifying. What was going through your mind?

I don't even know how to describe it, she said. It was very tough, very scary. There was no gas, no power. We were thinking of how we were going to stay alive. Fativa showed us the tiny cellar where she and her son took shelter during the fighting.

I had a mattress here where I slept, she told us. She said the worst of it came when Russian soldiers withdrew and began to bombard the neighborhoods when Ukrainian troops moved in. Fighting blew out her windows, tore shrapnel throughout her property in a battle that waged for months. So what is life like now here? I can say we live well, but I want it all to end, for there to be peace so there's no more shelling, because that was very scary. For now, they're surviving largely on humanitarian aid. At least they have their home and their freedom. Those Ukrainians living under Russian occupation have even less.

This is David Martin. Armed with billions of dollars of American weapons, Ukraine has fought the Russians to a standstill. But Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says that's not good enough. The Ukrainians feel, and I agree with this, that they need to conduct an offensive to change the dynamics on a battlefield. So we can expect a Ukrainian offensive?

I think we can expect an offensive in the spring. The first year of war has been a debacle for Vladimir Putin. But unless Ukraine can drive Russian troops back from their entrenched positions, he will keep fighting. What will stop the war, in my opinion, the only thing that will stop the war is if he becomes convinced that he can't win.

CBS News consultant John Sullivan was the U.S. ambassador in Moscow at the start of the war. He watched as sanctions imposed by the Biden administration hit the Russian economy. Are sanctions causing a level of pain that he can't live with?

Absolutely not. Their view is they can endure anything. They have, the Russian people have endured anything. It's a point of pride for Putin. Is this war at all becoming unpopular?

In Russia, among Russians, no. What I saw when I was there was a people that had been prepared over decades to believe the worst of the United States. American defense plants are doing their best to forge weapons being used to kill Russians in Ukraine. This ammunition plant in Scranton, Pennsylvania, is turning out artillery shells as fast as it can. Artillery ammunition and everything that goes with it is probably our number one effort.

Douglas Bush is the U.S. Army's chief weapons buyer. Why is artillery your number one priority? It's the most in demand because they're fighting a conflict without an air force, essentially.

All of their fire support is from artillery. So they're using it at rates that exceed, for example, how we would fight. How many are they firing a day? Depending on the day, sometimes between 3,000 and 5,000. Does the U.S. make that many artillery shells a day?

That exceeds what we make on a given day, which is why we're dramatically increasing our production rates. The U.S. has already rushed more than a million artillery shells and nearly 40 long-range rocket systems into a war that has become an artillery duel between two Duggan armies. Each side trying to exhaust the other. The Russians have had enormous stockpiles of artillery munitions over the years, and they've depleted those stockpiles in a major way. We see them reaching out to countries like North Korea and Iran for additional munitions.

That tells us that they are hurting in a major way. But even with the backing of the American defense industry, Volodymyr Zelensky cannot count on outlasting Russia, which has three times the population. So the U.S. is now shipping Bradley infantry fighting vehicles to the battle. What you're seeing are current efforts to support them with more offensive capability on the ground and abilities to maneuver under fire.

One hundred Bradleys armed with a rapid-fire cannon and anti-tank missiles are on their way to Ukraine, along with tanks promised by 10 other countries. Still, if Russian soldiers stand and fight, Ukraine will be hard-pressed to break through their elaborate network of trenches and tank traps. Now Russia is really dug in three deep.

They're dug in across a wide area. They can't perfectly defend every inch of that, and the way that this fight goes will depend upon the Ukrainians. Is this war only going to get bloodier?

It's pretty bloody right now. I think we have to remember, David, that every day there are Ukrainians that are dying. And every day Putin throws more untrained and poorly equipped soldiers into places like Bakhmout, where 4,500 Russians have been killed for little gain. And that's just a fraction of their overall losses. Two hundred thousand, according to Western military estimates, killed or wounded to date.

That's an extraordinary number. Compared to what Putin's prepared to sacrifice, a fraction of that. So bottom line, can Russia keep up this meat-grinder style of war?

Yeah, I'm sorry to say, but the answer is yes. He is all in, and he's not quitting. The book is an anti-war classic that in 1930 became an award-winning movie. Now All Quiet on the Western Front is back, offering striking parallels to the current fighting in Ukraine.

With Mark Phillips, we take a closer look. You wouldn't have thought a book that has sold more than 40 million copies and been made into a movie twice before would need another remake. I wanted to make the experience as physical or visceral as possible for you. Director Edward Berger's new version of All Quiet on the Western Front has come at a time when the world doesn't need more vividly manufactured war scenes on its screens. It's getting plenty of the real thing from the war in Ukraine, which is also proving again that the lessons of history are rarely learned. That may be good enough reason for a refresher course. The Netflix version is so effectively done, it's been nominated for nine Academy Awards, including Edward Berger for Best Director.

So we really try to put you into the shoes of these kids underneath it, to really feel that panic and the vibrating ground. All Quiet on the Western Front follows German soldiers descending into the hell of the trenches of the First World War. It's still considered amongst the most powerful anti-war stories ever written. The original book by German First World War veteran, Erich Maria Remarque, was an immediate sensation when it was published in 1929, but it was also controversial.

The Nazis considered it so defeatist and un-German, they banned it and burned it when they came to power. The first film version, which came out of Hollywood in 1930, is a classic that won Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director, and a 1979 made for TV version, which ran on CBS, won a Golden Globe and an Emmy. The brutal battle scenes in the current version, Berger says, are there for a reason. We didn't want to make a violent movie for violence. We wanted to make a movie that grabs you by the lapel, drags you through the mud and gives you the feeling, the very subjective feeling.

In my opinion, it has to be violent and brutal to the edge because everything else is propaganda. But the fact that a movie about war is now so topical is mostly an accident. The project actually began three years ago, well before Vladimir Putin's army rolled into Ukraine.

Although Berger says he did feel at the time that trouble in some form was coming. So Why Now was mostly motivated by a feeling that we had when we watched what happened in parliaments around the world. In America, with the administration, Brexit, Orban in Hungary. In Germany, a far-right party rising again.

You just thought things were in general decline and it was time to remind people of things. Well, there was a general antagonism. The politics may have been different then, but there are plenty of parallels between the First World War and the current war in Ukraine. The main character in All Quiet on the Western Front is Paul Boimer, a German teenager caught up in the nationalistic fervor that sent millions of kids to the front. Kids who were told it would all be over soon.

But it's a story of almost instant disillusionment. In the Imperial War Museum in London, they've reconstructed a First World War trench, which is where we met Felix Kammerer, who plays Paul Boimer. It's his first ever role in front of a camera. Frankly, you don't look like the war hero type. Do you think you were kind of cast against type in this movie? We were not aiming for a war hero.

We were aiming for a very usual, you know, a very common boy from whose perspective we could look. And it's really about a boy that is like millions of others at that time and nowadays too. And nowadays it's clear again the so-called war to end all wars didn't. Is it all the more relevant because Europe's back at war? I can see that there are parallels, you know, we see film footage of Ukrainians in trenches and they are sort of sheltering from artillery, which of course is a big feature of the First World War.

Sarah Patterson is a curator at the British War Museum. Is there a moral role for films like this revisiting some of the great military tragedies of our time? Absolutely.

I mean, I think it's great that we are talking about this now. And I think, you know, we are supposed to learn from history, even if it doesn't actually happen quite like that in real life, sadly, as we see in Europe today. In the end, though, it's just a movie and can only do so much. Of course, you are baffled and you are shocked that something like this can happen again. And again and again. But at the same time, it just shows the relevance once again of this film that we can't just stop thinking about war as a topic and war as a reality, because we seem to just not getting any cleverer.

We just keep doing the same mistakes for thousands and thousands of years. She was the essence of style, sex appeal and Hollywood glamour. Raquel Welch died Wednesday after a brief illness at the age of 82.

Born in Chicago to a Bolivian father and English American mother, Welch began performing at age seven after the family moved to California. By 19, she was on television reporting the weather at a local TV station. Her big Hollywood break came in 1966 with the sci fi thriller Fantastic Voyage. But what guaranteed her fame was this moment in the film One Million Years B.C., forever captured in a classic poster. Never a darling of the critics, Welch finally found a claim in 1975, winning a Golden Globe for her role in The Three Musketeers, which is not to say Raquel Welch was strictly serious. Here she is on a classic episode of Seinfeld.

If you bring it up again, I'll feed your genitals to a wolf. In 1998, Playboy magazine named Raquel Welch the third sexiest female star of the 20th century, along with Marilyn Monroe and Jane Mansfield. Welch was married and divorced four times and last appeared in a movie at the age of 77. Her legacy long established a legacy that included her staunch refusal to do nude scenes in any of the more than 30 films and 50 TV shows she appeared in in a half century career.

Style, she once said, has to have substance. And Raquel Welch had both. And just a few days ago, we lost a member of our Sunday morning family, Bob Pook, Sunday morning's longtime art director. Pook, as we all called him, was a made for television original. He was there from the first at NBC's Saturday Night Live, spent time at the Dave Letterman Show, and finally, for more than a decade, was here at Sunday morning.

Creative, cantankerous, and incomparable artist, colorful character, utterly and completely one of a kind. Our Bob Pook was 74. Some of the biggest names in music gathered last fall to honor a legendary Hollywood composer. Lucky Tracy Smith was there. Not long ago, at Warner Brothers movie lot in Burbank, on a scoring stage named for Clint Eastwood, a once in a lifetime gathering of musical giants, among them, trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, jazz great Herbie Hancock, and the legendary Quincy Jones. They came together to honor one man and re-record one of his best known songs.

One, two, three, four. The theme from the Peter Gunn TV show by the great Henry Mann Sr. The original song, recorded in 1958, helped make Henry Mancini a household name.

More on that later. But back then, Henry was just Hank, a 34-year-old TV music composer, and his piano player was a 26-year-old kid named Johnny Williams. Johnny has since moved on, but on this day, the maestro himself came back and took a seat at his Steinway Grand. What does it feel like to play it again? It's amazing. It's like a bicycle. You get back on. Is that what it felt like?

It feels great. Yeah? You have this wonderful band. John Williams is the only one left from the original recording session. Well, really, Hank was known, but it wasn't the Henry Mancini that we know now. That night, he was Hank, who worked at the studio, and we knew him as a buddy and so on. He was Johnny. I was Johnny. Yes, I was. Covered with air, by the way. Oh, sure.

You know, that's good many happy years ago. What do you think it is about this song that it transcends? Well, it's insistent, isn't it? It must be the great piano playing, don't you think? I do think. I think so.

Oh, of course, the piano, but there's so much more to it. In 1958, Henry Mancini was a noted film composer at Universal Studios, who'd already gotten an Oscar nod for his score for the Glenn Miller story. But he'd just been laid off in a company cutback, so when producer Blake Edwards approached him about scoring a TV show about a detective, he quickly said yes.

With a wife, a son, and twin girls, Mancini needed the money. How you feeling? Hot. September rain does that sometimes.

Yeah, I'm not talking about that kind of heat. What are you talking about? The show itself was well received, but the jazz-inspired theme song? That was a smash. I think when Hank wrote that piece of music, he had, I presume, he had no idea that the effect it was going to have. Greg Field is a Grammy-winning music producer. You hear it all the time.

It's licensed for commercials. It's just that little, you know, incredible bass line that Henry came up with and that simple melody, and it continues to resonate. He couldn't understand why it was so popular? No, because it was so simple. Simple but brilliant.

The Peter Gunn album won the first ever Grammy for Album of the Year. But even with all the success, twin sisters Felice and Monica Mancini say their dad stayed humble. He was a very quiet, reserved kind of guy.

Forget when he had some red wine. But his peers really admired him, and you ask any one of them that are alive today that said what do you most admire about Henry, and they just said he was one of the nicest men we've ever known. They don't talk about the music. That kind of speaks for itself.

But as far as a human being, they just said that no one comes close. And as his reputation soared, Mancini was able to help lift up some of his friends, John Williams, of course, and Quincy Jones in an era when it was nearly impossible for him to get into film scoring. And Mancini himself went on to compose some of the best loved, most played film music of a generation. There was the haunting Moon River from 1961's Breakfast at Tiffany's.

In 1962, there was the quirky Baby Elephant Walk from Hattari. And later that same year, the Days of Wine and Roses from the film of the same name. Mancini seemed to have a talent for creating music that became not just popular, but indelible. And by 1994, when he died from pancreatic cancer at age 70, he'd amassed four Oscars, 20 Grammys, and a kind of musical immortality.

You can go virtually anywhere in the world and go up to a 10-year-old and say ba-dap, ba-dap, ba-dap, and they immediately know it. And I can't imagine another composer that has created music that generation to generation, decade to decade, keeps resonating with people. Producer Greg Field, who also happens to be married to Monica Mancini, set out to re-record some of his father-in-law's biggest hits for a new album that'll come out later this year, starting with the Peter Gunn session.

Quincy Jones wouldn't have missed it. What is it like to be here in this studio recording Mancini's music again? It's like having him back in my life, you know. He was a very special person in my life, as were his two twin daughters, who used to kick my booty all the time on the pool table. No, that's my family, that's really family. And all of it, Herbie, John Williams, we just go all the way back, you know. So is this like a big family reunion? Yeah, yeah. Yeah? Exactly. And after all the hugs and the photos and the warm-ups, one of the greatest studio bands of all time was ready to lay it down.

One, two, three, four. What do you think it is about the Peter Gunn theme that endures? Like anything that endures, the composer did it right. And more than 60 years later, it can still raise the roof.

Somewhere in heaven, Henry Mancini must be smiling. Actor Judd Hirsch is up for an Oscar next month for his performance in Steven Spielberg's autobiographical film, The Fablemans. He tells our Ben Mankiewicz it all began in Brooklyn as a kid with dreams worthy of the movies.

On a warm winter day, Judd Hirsch returned to Coney Island. The first time he was here more than 80 years ago. What's the same now? There's only three things that are the same. Yeah. There's the cyclone. Yeah, over there. And there's the Wonder Wheel.

Right, right there. And there's the parachute jump. As a kid, Hirsch went on all the rides. But this is more than an amusement park to Hirsch. It's the place that changed his life. If you look across the ocean, you could be anybody. You could be anybody if you walk on this boardwalk. All I know is I didn't want to be what I was. Who he was is a long way from who Judd Hirsch is now.

Eighty-seven years old, he's perfected the art of turning the everyman into someone extraordinary. You're here and you're alive and don't tell me you don't feel that. The only thing I'm going to do is be truthful. I'll play what I think is the most truthful thing about the character. That's all I can do. That's rather presumptuous, don't you think?

It is, sir. Whatever truth Hirsch finds in his characters is working. He's made his living as an actor for close to 60 years. A Tony Award winner on stage, a TV fixture for decades. You just try to be honest.

Dear John, Numbers, and two lead actor Emmys as Alex Rieger in Taxi. The difficult thing is to make people feel good about their lives. Humiliating them, that's simple. I'll show you how simple it is here.

Take a look at this. Simple, huh? During Taxi's run, Hirsch went Hollywood, working for director Robert Redford on Ordinary People, earning a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination. Bad things happen even when people argue. Forty-two years later, he's nominated again, this time for director Steven Spielberg in The Fablements. Yeah, yeah. Believe me, Sammy boy, I get it. Family art.

It'll tear you in two. The pride I took in being in this movie was greater than any that I've ever had to be in any other movie. I had to bring it, be him, all by myself.

He's been doing it by himself since the beginning. The son of European immigrants, Hirsch was born into poverty, bouncing from apartment to apartment in the Bronx, then Brooklyn. We didn't have it easy. I mean, my mother and father split when I was two, didn't come back until five years later.

We lived in basements, furnished rooms, rooming houses. At college, Hirsch was well on his way to becoming an engineer, just one semester to go, but his circuits weren't connecting. So you're really nearly done, and you thought, I don't want to do this.

Three and a half years to a four-year degree and dropped everything. It was like a little voice saying, you want to be happy, or you want to be the same guy you've been all this time, right? That little voice pushed him to try something creative, to be an artist, a performer. Nobody in my family came from the theater, nobody in my family came from this industry. I didn't know what acting was. All I knew was, if they convinced me that they could make me feel something, whether it's funny, then I would love to know how they do that.

How do they do that? Hirsch dedicated himself to answering that question. He took acting classes, getting his first paying gig in the Broadway production of Barefoot in the Park. When I got that job, I never stopped. That was in 1966.

And to this day, I have never not worked in any year. Will you see a couple of jumps? Yes, Rose. Hirsch landed some commercials. He had this comforting familiarity to him.

Good morning, BWA. Rose, I told you never to call me again. The ads led to small parts in movies, and eventually a big break, an offer to be the voice of reason in a new television series about quirky New York cabbies. He had no interest in it. My agent had said, do you want to do this?

And I read it, and I didn't really want to go to television. Make them an offer they can't accept. What he said was, put my name before the show's title. They'd never go for it.

Problem was, they did. Hirsch has fond memories of Taxi and its cast, including the legendarily, let's just say complicated Andy Kaufman, who Hirsch simplifies in five words. He was a sweet man.

This is a wonderful place to work. Thank you very much. By the way, I wanted to play that part. You wanted to play like? Yes.

Thank you very much. Fast forward four decades. Thanks to Steven Spielberg, Hirsch got the chance to play an eccentric immigrant with a thick accent. You see, what she got in her heart is what you got, what I got, art.

Like me, like you, I think we're junkies, and art is our drug. So Steven Spielberg calls me up and says, I need someone as this part of the guy who made me become a director. He said, it's an old uncle, great uncle. So I'm going, okay, no background, nothing, nothing, nothing. With a blank canvas, Hirsch thought back to his days growing up under the shadow of the Wonder Wheel. You're not going to describe this guy, you know, and he expects that I'm going to be like him.

Okay, let me take my experience and stick it in there. The only one I had was Coney Island. And his experiences here as a boy helped him find Uncle Boris in the Fablemans. To me, this was the circus around the corner. It really was a circus. The part they played in Fablemans, I think, brought the whole thing out. No, sticking your head in the mouths of lions was balls.

Making sure the lion don't eat my head, that is art. You wanted to come back here. You wanted us to see this place.

I wanted to remember what made me choose somewhere to become an actor. And you think it was here. Yeah. It started here.

Yeah, it had to. From a kid on the cyclone to a second Oscar nomination, Judd Hirsch's road has been long, and there are still more miles to travel. I'm just starting.

If I want to do this, what's next? I mean, really, what's next? Actor Liev Schreiber had a hit TV series with the show Ray Donovan, the story of a fixer who made the problems of his wealthy clients disappear. Now, as he tells Robert Costa, he's tackling the real-life problems of Ukraine's most vulnerable. Liev Schreiber has walked many a red carpet, but walking one recently in Washington, D.C., and working the room as an advocate for Ukraine felt different. Ironically, I'm not really good in front of the cameras without a script, but I'm very grateful that my celebrity has afforded me an opportunity to give something back.

Moving back for the 55-year-old actor known for playing Hollywood fixer Ray Donovan on our sister network Showtime began a year ago with Russia's invasion of Ukraine. I think like a lot of Americans, I was on my couch watching the war unfold on television. When a friend called with an idea, live-streamed conversations with Ukrainians from the front, Schreiber was blunt in response, no. I was in a bad mood and I told them, look, if you really want to help the Ukrainians, just send them some money and hung up. And a couple of guys who have about 30 years of experience in the humanitarian aid world called me back and they said, how serious were you about that idea?

And I said, what idea? And they said, supporting Ukraine. And it was that moment where I could say yes or no.

And I decided that I would say yes and see where it led. Schreiber's decision to do something and not just speak out led him to co-found BlueCheck Ukraine, which vets and raises funds for NGOs, non-governmental organizations, on the ground. What was important to us was to make Americans feel safe, to find a way that their dollars could go directly to NGOs on the ground who are doing the work to provide humanitarian aid. We're crossing the border of Poland and Ukraine. Schreiber himself visited the country twice last year, and he's met with President Volodymyr Zelensky.

But he says his mission isn't about politics, which he tries to avoid. It's about the people. For me, I think the real moving stuff is meeting the people and just understanding how similar we are. What do they say to you? They say thank you, which is also incredibly moving because I don't feel like I've done anything. And then it compels you to do more because you want to be deserving of that gratitude. And it's the stories of gratitude Schreiber wants to highlight, like Pavlo Shoga of the NGO KidSave, which helped evacuate more than 10,000 women and children in three months last year. During a meeting, Shoga shared an especially touching moment. The translator tells me that what Pavlo's saying is that the reason he's so emotional right now is because he heard that this kid had a bake sale and raised $68 selling dog biscuits and sent it directly to him.

And he's just floored by the fact that some little kid in America would care about him. What's it like to witness courage? Yolanda, nice to meet you. I went to meet an extraordinary woman named Yolanda Prashalik, who runs the L'viv Philharmonic.

Overnight she turned the 70-person orchestra into an aid distribution hub. And I asked Yolanda, what would you say to people who are considering supporting Ukraine? It wasn't a strategic remark because I could tell that she had an experience of what was important. And for many Americans, it can seem like it's all over there. And it's a policy debate. But you keep coming back to the humanity of the people there.

It is important that we think about this as a humanitarian crisis, that we're trying to stop a genocide. Schreiber's passion stems partially from his own family's history. His grandfather emigrated from Ukraine.

Schreiber also wrote and directed Everything is Illuminated, where the central character visits the country in search of his ancestral ties. For nearly three decades, at least, you keep going back to the past, wondering about Ukraine, your roots, what drives that? I think it has more to do with my sense of what it is to be American than what it is to be Ukrainian.

Our democracy, our system of governance is one that I'm hugely proud of. And that's why I think it's so important that we continue to support, to be aware of what's happening in Ukraine. A year in, you're as involved as anyone in activism and awareness in this issue.

Are Americans aware enough of what's happening? I hope so. I think every little bit helps.

I think, you know, if you stop to think about you're not having any impact, what's the point? Are you hopeful? I am very hopeful. In fact, I'm convinced they're going to win. What gives you that conviction? Truth. You know, the truth is on their side. Thank you for listening. Please join us when our trumpet sounds again next Sunday morning.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-19 14:08:41 / 2023-02-19 14:26:24 / 18

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